Saturday, April 28, 2007

A shiny bottom

We went back to Earith to see Richard's boat Bankside with its shiny black hull. It appears that the hull is still in very good nick, which is a relief, and Graham at the boatyard had done a good job. He had waited for us to inspect the boat out of the water which gave us the opportunity to watch her being craned back in - exciting but nerve racking as she dangled from the crane. Actually it was all very smooth and controlled despite some initial creaking from the straps as they took the strain.

Despite a cold wind for the first half of the journey we had a very pleasant run back up the Ouse to Hartford. Richard's daughter Stephanie joined us for the trip and helped with the locks. I'm getting used to these new fangled locks with their strange terminology. What we call paddles, they call slackers, and the hinged gates are called Vee gates. Here you can see the control panel at Hermitage lock. The lifting guillotine gate is on a timer delay, so it opens a fraction and then waits until the water levels are close to equal before you can lift it right up. What's more it won't lift at all if the sensors on the vee gates show they are not fully closed. All very safety conscious, but very slow. It takes roughly twice as long as the equivalent canal lock.

Back at Hartford, we had a difficult manoeuvre to do, turning the boat round and backing it up in a narrow space to its mooring, all in a stiff breeze that kept blowing the boat offline. Narrowboats have next to no steering in reverse so you have to back up a bit and then when the boat goes off course, use a bit of forward power to steer the boat back on line, then backwards again and so on. Anyway we did it without mishap and Bankside is now safely back home.

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